Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Archive for January 5th, 2023

Pink tinges in December before the freeze

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On December 21, the day before I went hunting for wildflowers hours in advance of a forecast deep freeze, I’d found two species near each other in my neighborhood whose flowers had tinges of pink. The flower head above, no more than an inch in length, is Chaptalia texana. The species epithet in the former scientific name, Chaptalia nutans, means ‘nodding,’ and that’s indeed what these flower heads usually do. The common name, silverpuff, refers to the seed heads, which are a good native substitute for those of the invasive Eurasian dandelion that has conquered the world.

Where silverpuff produces one flower head on each 3-to-12-inch long stalk, Ageratina havanensis grows in the form of a bush as much as 5 feet high with scads of flowers all over it. Below is one scad. Common names for this species are shrubby boneset, thoroughwort, and fragrant mistflower. That last is an allusion to the scent that attracts many insects, though the just-about-at-freezing morning three days earlier may account for my not finding any insects on this bush.



(Pictures from the Texas panhandle will resume next time.)


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman




Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 5, 2023 at 4:24 AM

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